Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Canada secures junior championship

HOCKEY The Canadians had to beat the Russians to win the international competition for the under 20 category, and they did so in convincing fashion

AP , VANCOUVER

Members of Team Canada surround Cam Barker, center, who holds the World Junior Hockey Championship trophy after defeating Team Russia 5-0 at General Motors Place in Vancouver on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

Michael Blunden scored two power-play goals and Justin Pogge stopped 35 shots for his third shutout of the World Junior Hockey Championship, leading Canada over Russia 5-0 in the final on Thursday.

Blake Comeau, Steve Downie and Kyle Chipchura also scored as Canada won consecutive championships for the first time since winning five straight from 1993-1997.

"We came out and played our game," Pogge said. "We're in Canada, the gold stays here in Canada."

Earlier in the day, Lauri Tukonen scored the tiebreaking goal at 13:20 of the third period, and Finland beat the US 4-2 for the bronze medal.

Canada coach Brent Sutter improved to 12-0 in the world junior championship, and is the winningest Canadian coach in the history of the tournament.

His philosophy of an aggressive defence, hard work and attention to detail has proved successful, as Canada gave up only six goals in six games -- just one at even-strength.

The Canadians worked harder and were more physical around the Russian net than their opponents were in defending it. Canada also had two power-play goals on seven chances, and held Russia to 0-for-6.

"We just wanted to keep things simple and keep them off the scoreboard as best we could and we did it pretty well," said defenseman Ryan Parent said.

Russia outshot Canada 15-8 in the first period, but trailed 2-0. Comeau opened the scoring 17:13 into the game, and Downie made it 2-0 less than 2 minutes later.

Replays in the opening minutes of the second period showed the puck getting across the goal line behind Pogge at one point. The Russians had a long discussion with American referee Brian Thul, but it was not counted.

Blunden scored his goals 2:42 apart in the second half of the second period, and Chipchura cap-ped the scoring at 17:15 of the third.

In the bronze-medal playoff, Jesse Joensuu scored twice and Tuukka Rask stopped 37 shots to lead Finland.

"It means a lot," Tukonen said. "Finland doesn't have that many medals from hockey. We just worked harder. We wanted more to win the game and now we got our offensive game lots better."

American forward Bobby Ryan opened the scoring by knocking in his own rebound at 12:11 of the first period.

After Jari Sailio tied the score at 13:32 of the second, Finland led 2-1 about 90 seconds later when Joensuu's first goal of the championship survived a video review. American goalie Cory Schneider served up a generous rebound that hit the Finn as he went to the net.

Jack Johnson, booed every time he touched the puck for decking Canada's Steve Downie on New Year's Eve, tied the score with power-play goal 11:03 into the third period.

Patrik Elias had two goals and two assists in his second game back since recovering from hepatitis to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Devils struggled to score this season without Elias, who contracted the illness while playing in Europe during the NHL lockout last year.

Against Montreal, Elias combined with linemates Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta for three goals and eight points as New Jersey won its second straight.

Viktor Kozlov and Brian Rafalski also scored for the Devils, and Martin Brodeur made 16 saves.

Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins, Michael Ryder and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Canadiens, who lost their fourth straight.

Flyers 4, Rangers 3, OT

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